By Luke Eggleston/ SUN staff writer
CBA triumvirate headed to Division I schools

Earlier in the season, Christian Brothers Academy made local headlines when the Brothers’ basketball team’s all-state point guard Greg Paulus announced that he would attend Duke University following graduation. Not to be outdone, it was recently announced that the Brothers’ varsity girls lacrosse team would be sending not one, but three athletes off to Division I programs. A press conference was held Nov. 15 at CBA to announce that attack player Brittany Aungier, midfielder Erica LaGrow, and defender Caitlin deMello had each selected a Division I program that met their standards.

Aungier selected the University of California at Berkeley; LaGrow, the University of North Carolina; and deMello, William and Mary. All three were able to select their respective school from a number of options. “For a school our size to have three girls of Division I caliber is amazing,” CBA Athletics Director Buddy Wleklinski said. “We’re fortunate to get some talented athletes here, but I give the credit to our coaching staff. Our coaching staff has done a pretty good job. There’s talent out there and I think they’ve done a pretty good job of molding it and training these kids so that they’re prepared to play at the next level and they’re even marketable at that level.”

The AD suggested that CBA is not done with Division I signings, citing a number of football players who he believes have the potential to make an impact at the next level. From Purple and Gold to Powder Blue One of the best pure athletes on CBA’s squad, Erica LaGrow was not only a first-team all-CNY lacrosse player, but also a second-team all-CNY soccer player. LaGrow selected North Carolina over Duke, Vanderbilt and Notre Dame. A first-team all-league selection in lacrosse, LaGrow had 17 assists for the Brothers last spring. Coach Erica Gerber described the senior midfielder as “intense, driven, and focused,” and as a very good athlete who “moves well laterally.” The coach also cited LaGrow’s anticipation as a strength of her game.

LaGrow’s superior athleticism helped her become one of the top soccer midfielders in the section. LaGrow said that North Carolina appealed to her because although it is a large school, it has the intimate feel of a smaller school. “I liked the atmosphere.…It’s a big school, but it felt small and I liked the people there,” LaGrow said. During the 2003 season, the Tarheels were ranked as high as No. 9 in the nation. North Carolina finished the 2003 campaign with an 7-9 record and ranked 14th in the nation according to the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association poll, but were denied a berth in the NCAA Tournament. New Frontier on the West Coast Aungier passed up a chance to play at the U.S. Naval Academy, Oregon, or Colgate to head to Berkley for a chance to get onto Cal’s roster. “I love the coaches… I love how they were straight forward,” Aungier said. “I love how it’s such a great academic school and definitely because it’s on the west coast.”

Cal finished its season 11-6 overall and 4-2 in the Mountain Pacific Lacrosse League. The Golden Bears lost to Stanford 15-14 in the conference championship last season. A first-team all-league selection, Aungier led Class B with 75 goals, which is more than any other player in the region (Whitney Vecchio of General Brown was second among regional teams with 72 goals in 2003). Aungier was also second on the team in the assists category with 20. Gerber said that Aungier is “really intense, she loves to score, she has excellent placement.” Another asset that Aungier brings to the table is her relentlessness and her pursuit on ground balls. “I think I play with a lot of heart on the field — I give it everything,” Aungier said. “And I have a lot of passion for the game.” Both LaGrow and Aungier are five-year starters for CBA. Last Line of Defense Defender Caitlin deMello also had a number of attractive options awaiting her after her senior season.

A first-team all-league defender, deMello selected William & Mary over Duke, Dartmouth and Notre Dame. Playing point for the Brothers, Gerber said that deMello, like her teammates, plays with considerable intensity and is dedicated to the game. “She has a good sense of the game, she intercepts very well,” Gerber said, adding that deMello is also pivotal in the Brothers’ transition game and setting up the offense. In addition to its strong academics, DeMello said she likes the location William & Mary offered in Williamsburg, Va. She was also impressed with Tribe coach Tara Brown.

The Tribe finished its 2003 season with a 2-13 record. CBA Loaded for Spring Season Gerber noted that all three players “love lacrosse” and are committed to the sport. Although careers at the Division I level await three of her players, Gerber is excited just to get the 2004 season underway. With three elite players returning and having lost just two to graduation, CBA may be the strongest team in Class B this season. “This is our year,” Gerber said. Last season, the Brothers topped Skaneateles during the regular season, but lost to the Lakers in double overtime by one goal in the Section III Class B championship game. CBA concluded the 2003 campaign ranked sixth in the state and with a 15-3 record.

Gerber arrived as the head coach at CBA last spring from West Genesee. She brought with her defensive specialist Stacie Rosati. Gerber had been an assistant on a Wildcats’ staff that had won two state championships. Both she and Rosati had played lacrosse at Syracuse at some point during their academic careers and Gerber played field hockey on scholarship as an undergraduate. The coach said that one of the elements she and Rosati have stressed is deploying a defense that manipulates the offense, rather than simply reacting to what the opposing offense is doing. She also explained that the program’s long-term goal is to develop overall. “We try to emphasize a lot of skills and teamwork,” Gerber said. “We’re trying to create a lot of depth. I don’t think they had that before.”

Both Gerber and Wleklinski cited the character of all three of the CBA lacrosse standouts. “They’re great kids,” Wleklinski said. “They’re the kinds of kids you’d love to have in your family and have as your daughters. They’re dedicated and they work hard. Obviously, if you look at the three schools that they’re going to, you can see that they’re good in the classroom also. It’s great, they really represent us in a positive manner — the way that you would like to have your school represented. You feel real comfortable when they’re out there doing that for you.”
Le Moyne baseball announces five early signees

Le Moyne College head baseball coach Steve Owens has announced the signing of five baseball players for the class of 2008.

Adam Leduc (Beaconsfield, Quebec/C.E.G.E.P.), Travis LaRock (Ogdensburg, N.Y./Ogdensburg), Andy Parrino (Brockport, N.Y./Brockport), Robert Perez (Miami, Fla./Belen Jesuit) and Jamie Rose (Hornell, N.Y./Hornell) have signed with the Dolphins. “We are very pleased with this class,” Owens said. “Not only with the talent, but we have the right mix of the type of player we enjoy having. They are tough-nosed players that I know will work hard to continue the program’s success in the future.” Leduc, a 6-2 right-handed pitcher, boasts a fastball in the upper 80’s. He has prepped at C.E.G.E.P in Montreal since graduating from Montreal’s Loyola High in 2002. He has played for Quebec in the Canada Cup and competed with Team Canada. “He’s a durable power pitcher that has been training year-round with some of Canada’s elite coaches,” Owens commented on his first Canadian recruit at Le Moyne. “Adam is the first guy to come south across the border to play for us. With his family less than three hou
rs away, I think this is a great fit for him. We think he has the desire to be a real quality starting pitcher in our league.” LaRock, a 6-3 right-handed pitcher, initially caught the attention of the coaching staff at Le Moyne summer camps and winter clinics. As a junior at Ogdensburg High School, LaRock went 6-0 with a 0.28 ERA and fanned 68 in 50 innings of work. Over the summer, he posted a 7-2 American Legion mark, 1.52 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 60 innings with the Ogdensburg Maples. “We really like his ability to listen and be receptive to coaching and making changes,” Owens said. “Because of that, we believe he has a high ceiling.”

Parrino, the starting shortstop for the Western New York Empire State Games team in each of the last two seasons, has played varsity baseball at Brockport High School since eighth grade. Last season he was named Co-Player of the Year in Section V for Monroe County’s Division I and was named first-team all-county for the past two seasons. Academically, Parrino ranks 12th in his graduating class of 374. “We think Andy will be an impact player as a freshman,” Owens said of the switch-hitting Parrino. “He has a nice swing from both sides of the plate.” Perez, a 6-foot-2 outfielder from Belen Jesuit, is Le Moyne’s third recruit from Miami in Owens’ tenure at the college. Senior catcher Steven Suarez played at South Miami, while sophomore shortstop Andre Enriquez also played for Tony Meilan at Belen Jesuit. Perez, a 6-foot-2 switch-hitting corner outfielder/third baseman hit .393 with Belen Jesuit last season. “We’re happy to get another player from Miami. With three players two years apart, we’ve established a good relationship with a community that has a tremendous amount of excellent baseball players who are also strong students,” Owens said. “Robert is a strong student, a strong switch-hitter and a quality runner for his size. His power from the left side is great for our park.”

Rose, also a two-time Empire State Games player for Western New York, was the only player in Hornell history to start on the baseball team as a seventh grader. In grades seven through 11, Rose has hit .370 with a .610 slugging percentage and knocked in 79 runs. “We think he’ll play a corner outfield spot, second base, or third,” Owens said of Rose. “He’s physically mature, great competitor. He really likes to play and has always played better under the most pressure. Jamie and Andy Parrino hit 1-2 for the gold medal team for the past two years. I believe those two are the best position players in New York. From the get-go, we wanted to get these two and we’re glad we were able to do it.”

In 2003, Le Moyne earned its second trip to the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament. The Dolphins went 33-17 and captured the MAAC regular season and tournament championships.